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Economic coercion in Indo-Pacific island states: Building resilience

By Prof Richard Herr OAM and David Brewster

Indo-Pacific island states face diverse challenges as they grapple with their own unique vulnerabilities to the geopolitical consequences of growing strategic competition in the region. This report explores the vulnerability of island states to economic coercion and the risks they face in navigating the growing economic power of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

In this report, the authors examine four perceived examples of economic coercion within the region that challenge the Quad’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. China’s increasing interest in the island states of the Indo-Pacific has led to concern that the imbalance in those relationships is so large that both domestic and broader regional stability are at risk.

This report offers a number of policy recommendations to protect Indo-Pacific island states from economic coercion, including:

  • Island states must be better invested in the rules-based international economic order;
  • Establishing codes of conduct to limit economic duress, limit undue economic influence and strengthen the rules-based international system;
  • Strengthening government institutions so they can resist economic coercion;
  • International partners should work with Indo-Pacific island states to help strengthen the ability of local businesses to take collective action against economic coercion.